Apple’s Phil Schiller Says App Review Staff Is Your Friend – How Can App Approval Be Made Better?

News that has been around in the recent past is regarding application approval policies of Apple. Apple has been inconsistent and rigid in its policy making regarding its applications and has faced the biggest opposition from the developer community. The issue came into light once again after leading developer of Facebook application for iPhone quit to highlight the problem with Apple’s policies.

During an interview with Business Week, Phil Schiller, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing at Apple reasoned why the process to review the applications must exist. His main concern is to make the application store a family friendly place from where the entire family may download known well trusted applications which are safe and abide by the laws and morals of the society. In his words,

"You and your family and friends can download applications from the store, and for the most part they do what you’d expect, and they get onto your phone, and you get billed appropriately, and it all just works. There have been applications submitted for approval that will steal personal data, or which are intended to help the user break the law, or which contain inappropriate content"

After reading Schiller’s interview, we need to shed light on some of the facts that have been disregarded.

  • Voice and Latitude applications by Google were rejected even though there are a lot of approved similar applications.
  • Rejection of EyeTV application because somehow AT&T does not support live streaming too well.
  • Other applications taking years to get approved such as an application named 0870 got approval after almost 429 days.
  • Some entirely repugnant applications getting approved initially but eventually being rejected after public indignation, example of such application being “baby Shaker”.

These are only a few from a hand full of applications victimized by IPhone application policies. A major reason for the application rejection is the competition, with Apple’s own softwares or those of its partners. Even with all these reason some application get approved despite of Apple’s stern approval policies.

The words of Schiller and objective of Apple raise a strong point that Apple wants to act by law and float appropriate application, but the rising concern of the developers and opposing voices shed light to the fact that things have not been in the best shape and the policies need to be rethought about. The main reason to such a conclusion is the analysis of the past on how well the application approval policies have worked.

The way forwards needs to be defined. It has always been the desire to make the application approval policy a more transparent and consistent one. However to maintain high standards becomes difficult when nearly 10,000 application are being submitted daily.

One way out of this outrageous scenario where the application developers are not content is to develop a rating system for each application like that of a MPAA movie rating. It is time Apple lets the customer decided which application to use and which not to and help them decided by offering suitable ratings to each application. Ratings such as, family friendly, contain illegal content, adult content and those good for everyone.

This will not only solve application developer’s tussle with iPhone but will also develop a new reputation amongst its customers as a friend and a well wisher rather than a guardian or a gatekeeper. Furthermore it will offer the users better means to judge the application before downloading.

Write an email to the author of this post at jawad@techskipper.com

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